Racheal Lee
Aug 13, 2013

Brand loyalty elusive in Malaysia: Guinness Anchor's Bruce Dallas

KUALA LUMPUR - Following his appointment as marketing director for Guinness Anchor (GAB) in Malaysia in March, Bruce Dallas explained to Campaign Asia-Pacific why experiential marketing will be a key part of his strategy.

Dallas: marketers must be realistic about brand switching
Dallas: marketers must be realistic about brand switching

Consumer profiles are changing and brands can no longer depend on continued brand loyalty,  Dallas said. He noted that consumers in Malaysia have become more affluent and demanding, and that they are looking for new experiences and brands that will complement their lifestyle. In order to remain relevant, he said, it is important to provide people with a flow of new reasons to talk about a brand.

“Consumers now grow up having more choices,” he said. “They are demanding, digitally-savvy and have been exposed to different things. They are more willing to try new things and it is difficult to hold them in a brand.”

Dallas was appointed as GAB’s marketing director in March, overseeing the marketing strategy for all GAB’s brands, which includes Tiger, Guinness, Heineken, Anchor, Kilkenny, Strongbow, Paulaner, Anglia and Malta. Tiger constitutes for 60 per cent of its total portfolio, Guinness at 22 per cent and Heineken at 10 per cent.

Prior to joining GAB, Bruce was with Diageo Asia-Pacific based in Singapore as category director, beer and subsequently as category director, beer and Baileys. Dallas started his career in 1997 in South Africa and had worked on brands such as Carmel, Monate, Bestfoods, Marmite, Knorrox and Skippy. He later also worked at Bestfoods in Belgium, Knorr in South Africa, as well as Unilever in Africa, Middle East and Turkey.

Dallas said it is important to vary marketing strategy according to target audiences. But he takes a straightforward approach to consumer profiling: social media engagement is crucial for younger audiences, while TV and print platforms are still as relevant as ever for older audiences.

Yet activation, points of purchase and shopper experiences are equally important. This includes such simple tasks as ensuring beer is served at the right temperature. “In addition to increasing our investment in marketing, we will be putting more emphasis on maximising consumer experience at the point of purchase,” he added. “The aim is to provide consumers with an exceptional experience and deeper engagement with our brands.”

Dallas noted that GAB will be targeting innovation. That includes exploring brand launches and new consumer experiences as a means of strengthening its portfolio and meeting demands. He noted that innovative product offerings would be a major strategy in building engagement with consumers in the market.

Different brands also organise different events to engage with their consumers, such as Guinness Arthur’s Day, Tiger Street Football. GAB works with several agencies, including Grey, Ogilvy & Mather and GroupM for its marketing activities.

He added that marketers have to know their consumers and evolve to meet their changing needs. While consumers tend to switch from brand to brand, it is vital for marketers to pursue strategies that allow those consumers to switch to brands under the same company, he said.

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